Minnesota splits, falls in kick off

Gophers senior Aria Lambert moved up on the school’s all-time singles list.

David Nelson

The Minnesota men’s and women’s tennis teams went up against top competition at the ITA Kick-Off over the weekend in the hope of extending their undefeated records to open their 2015 campaigns.

Save for a men’s vicotry against Michigan, the teams seemingly couldn’t keep up with their talented opponents.

The women’s team opened its weekend against No. 3 North Carolina, losing the competition by a final score of 4-0.

“We could have made it a little tighter than it was,” head coach Chuck Merzbacher said. “But for our first real test of the year, it was pretty good tennis [by us].”

Despite going up against one of the top-five teams in the nation, sophomore Maja Vujic said the team was confident heading into its matches Saturday.

“We went into the match as if we were playing any other team,” Vujic said. “We weren’t going to let that intimidate us because we know how good we can be as well.”

Though play improved on Sunday morning, the No. 73 Gophers still couldn’t find their rhythm against No. 59 Boston College — losing 4-1.

While Minnesota couldn’t get the job done this weekend in the win column, the Gophers scraped together plenty of competitive matches.

“We played two really well-ranked teams,” Vujic said. “To know that we’re out there fighting with everyone and having close matches tells us we’re just as good.”

One of the bright spots from the weekend came from the doubles pairing of junior Paula Rincon-Otero and redshirt junior Julia Courter.

The pairing recorded the Gophers’ only two doubles victories on the weekend — winning their matches Saturday and Sunday.

“Their doubles [performance] was great,” Merzbacher said of the tandem, which notched its fourth consecutive victory as a pairing this season.

Also adding to the list of accomplishments was senior Aria Lambert, who recorded her 65th singles victory to move her into a tie for 24th all-time on the Gophers’ singles wins list.

“Regardless of what the weekend results were, we’re really going in the right direction,” Merzbacher said. “We’re a work in progress, but we’re not really far off at all.”

Men’s team goes 1-1

The men’s tennis team split its matchups over the weekend after falling to No. 9 Texas on Saturday while overpowering No. 42 Michigan on
Sunday morning.

Head coach Geoff Young said the competition this weekend provided good practice for the team in pressure situations.

The Gophers’ weekend started against the Longhorns where the hometown team outplayed Minnesota and won 4-1.

“It was a very good indicator of where we are at,” Young said. “Where we need to get better in our practices.”

The Gophers got their redemption, though, in the ensuing matchup with the Wolverines on Sunday.

Led by its three singles victories, Minnesota bested Michigan 4-1.

“It was a really hard-fought match,” Young said. “I think we competed pretty well.”